I think about Britney Spears a lot. It is what I am paid to do, so I expend a lot of time looking at pictures of the singer, reading about every retarded move she makes. Yes, retarded. I know, I know, it’s a “bad word,” sure, but how else do you describe Britney Spears? She is beyond being a mess – she is of another mental capacity. A very small one.
So I think a lot about Britney, and how we’re all so hard on her being a fucking mess. I sit around mystified about how a woman with a yacht full of thousand dollar bills could 1. look like a fucking grizzly bear all the time and 2. not get her shit together. But then I noticed something scary in the pics I was staring at of Brit Brit guzzling Frappucinos in stained shirts. She looked a lot – a LOT – like me when my mom was dying.
A bit of a backstory: When it became clear that chemo was not stopping my mom’s cancer from growing and she became too weak to continue trying new treatments, we decided to do hospice care at our house for the remainder of my mom’s life. There was never really any question about this from the beginning – my mom was always keen on doing hospice and dying at home and I don’t think the rest of us would have had it any other way. I had kind of thought (and hoped) that my mom would live for two or three months from the start of hospice, but she died just two weeks after we started, so things got very crazy and intense very fast.
Hospice basically provides the family with the tools necessary to care for a dying loved one at home (you can also go to a hospice facility where they provide palliative care for the dying). We had a team dedicated to my mom: a nurse, a social worker and a chaplain. When our nurse, Danielle, was not working there were on-call nurses available around-the-clock. In the end Danielle was visiting us every day for about two hours each visit. But most of the time there is no nurse present. They give you all the medicine you need and teach you how to administer it on your own, plus you also are doing everything else that goes along with nursing. This is when you truly become a caregiver to the person who is dying, and it is exhausting and all sorts of fucked up. I had never seen anyone die before, much less my mom, and so there you are working your ass off AND on top of it, you’re going through the most fucked up thing in your life. I will spare you the details (because I like to believe my mom can read this blog from heaven, where wireless internet is obviously free, and she would probably be pissed if I got into the yucky stuff. She was a private lady.), but it was the most intense, exhausting, difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Hands down. I would do it all over again in a second – I wouldn’t have my mom go any other way. But to call it grueling would be a gross understatement.
Anyway, you can imagine what I looked like at this time. Quite simply, I was a fucking wreck and I wore the same outfit for about two weeks: wool socks, pink Forever 21 sweat pants with CALIFORNIA written on the ass, an Old Navy Tank Top or a giant Red Sox t-shirt that had been my brother’s, and a Red Sox sweat shirt (with stains). No bra. Plus my hair was back in some sort of cotton sweat band and I wore my glasses. Showering helped nothing. We were up all hours of the night as medicine had to be administered every hour to two hours. So I was not sleeping. On top of this was all the emotional stuff that goes along with your mom dying – sobbing like a fucking lunatic all day long.
When I saw pictures of Britney Spears hysterically crying after some custody something or other, surrounded by the paparazzi, all I could think about was what if I had been photographed going to buy a bedpan for my mom, looking the way I looked back in February and March, surrounded by photographers. It would look eerily similar to the photo of BritBrit above. The thing I valued most about my mom’s dying and death was that we were able to go through it all privately. Family and friends gave us space; people left coolers of food for us outside our house without demanding to come visit. But what if I had to go through that experience with the world watching? I wouldn’t take the time to do my hair in the morning either – or ever. Granted, when my mom was dying I didn’t drive around to every Taco Bell in Massachusetts. Britney still does some seriously crazy crap in her time of crisis that I just do not understand. But it still kind of made her seem that much more human – and really, really sad.
I know we (okay, ME) are never going to leave Britney alone – I will be writing about her mom’s visit to LA this weekend at 8AM tomorrow at work. But I’m not so aghast when I see her out and about acting crazy. I’ve kind of been there – just without the Versace bag. Considering all the messed up stuff us humans go through, you probably have too.